After Maine’s Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a promise during a Fox News interview: “Senator Collins will be well funded, I can assure you.”
Maybe not well funded enough.
On Thursday, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, the most likely Democratic challenger to Collins, revealed she raised a whopping $9 million in the second quarter. Oh, and Gideon is set to receive an additional $3.5 million or more after she (presumably) wins the Democratic primary in the middle of July. A Federal Election Commission report filed that night showed Gideon with $5.5 million in the bank as of June 24.
Gideon’s financial advantage over Collins, who reported $5 million cash on hand, doesn’t guarantee a victory over the three-term Republican, who not long ago remained astronomically popular in the state and is working to frame the race as a battle between a shaky upstart and a battle-tested veteran. But the Democrat’s financial advantage is the starkest example of the Trump-fueled wave of progressive energy and small-dollar donor cash that now threatens Collins ― and her party’s majority in the Senate.
“This is the hardest race Sen. Collins will ever have,” said Toby McGrath, a Democratic strategist who worked on President Barack Obama’s campaigns in the state and for independent Sen. Angus King, noting most public polls now show a toss-up race. “Single digits is not a place she’s ever been.”
National Republican strategists expect FEC reports released in the coming weeks to reveal nearly every incumbent Republican senator in a swing state, with the likely exception of Texas Sen. John Cornyn, to be outraised by their Democratic challenger in the second quarter. Many were alarmed when ActBlue, the preferred fundraising hub for Democrats and liberal groups, announced it had processed $392 million worth of donations in June.
Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage...